| Gautam Gambhir
Durban: While Wasim Jaffer failed once again, Gautam Gambhir (playing his first match since arriving in South Africa over a fortnight ago) made capital of the opportunity to score 79 before being asked to retire at the Northwood Crusaders Club, on Friday.
Gambhir’s innings has appreciably improved his chances of making the XI in the second Test which begins at Kingsmead on Tuesday.
“There has been much talk about retaining the winning combination, but keeping Jaffer in the XI appears to be extremely difficult now,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph.
Team India won the first Test by a massive 123 runs.
Jaffer’s scores on this tour have been: 5 versus South Africa A in the opener (Benoni), 0 in the Durban ODI, 10 in the Port Elizabeth ODI, 0 and 0 against Rest of South Africa (Potchefstroom), 9 and 4 in the first Test at the Wanderers, 2 versus the KwaZulu-Natal Invitation XI.
A total of 30 runs in eight outings at different levels. It’s a disaster.
Virender Sehwag, who scored 33 in the second innings of the first Test, followed it up with 40 in the two-dayer here. It’s quite likely, then, that Gambhir (who batted at No. 3) will be asked to partner the former vice-captain.
With Rahul Dravid set to declare at the close-of-first-day 270 for six — Sourav Ganguly unbeaten on 41 — the attention is now going to be on Munaf Patel. He has recovered from an ankle injury and fine spells on Saturday could see him nudging out Vikram Rajvir Singh.
“That will be a tough one, though,” the well-placed source added.
The Northwood Crusaders Club, incidentally, had been an all-Whites establishment till not too long ago. On Friday, it was teeming with those having roots in India. Times have changed.
Jaffer’s luck hasn’t.